Tornado victims thankful for community support

VIDEO: Tornado victims thankful for community support
Several businesses like The Loophole are doing what they can to help victims. (Photo Source: Live 5)
Several businesses like The Loophole are doing what they can to help victims. (Photo Source: Live 5)

JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Stories of survival continue to surface in the neighborhoods affected by Friday's tornado on Johns Island.

Crews have been working non-stop to try and clear the homes and areas that were impacted.

"I just kept praying, 'God help us', I was screaming it, and he did," recalls Cynthia Winkler, who lost her home off Hollington Road to the tornado. "He put his hands on us that day, that night."

Meanwhile, businesses and other groups have been working to give support to those families in need.

The Loophole on Johns Island, off Maybank Highway, scheduled a concert Tuesday night starting at 5 p.m. to raise money for the families. It plans to donate a portion of food and drink sales to help families rebuild.

Many victims of the tornado say they are overwhelmed at the amount of support they've gotten from the community and beyond.

"It's going to take a while, so I'm glad that everyone is going to be there for us," Winkler said.

Since Friday Winkler has been trying to recover what she can from her home, and helping her neighbors in the process. In return, the community and beyond is returning the favor through fundraisers, gift cards and more.

"It's awesome," Winkler said. "I love the community. I do a lot of volunteer work, and give back to my community, so it's so gratifying for them to come together for me."

"It's devastating," said Paul Farrell, the owner of The Loophole. "You don't really realize the aftermath until you drive out to see what has happened, and meet these people. It's messed up their everyday life now and they basically have to start over." Tractors could be seen along Sonny Boy Lane Tuesday, clearing as much of the debris as possible.

The Brunson family had minimal damage to their home itself, but trees were ripped from the front yard.

They've had friends and family helping clear as much as they can, while others in the neighborhood have gotten help from churches, the County, and businesses on the island.

"I've seen a lot of folks coming together to help these people," said Harry Brunson, who is helping with the cleanup. "This is needed. With the insurance costing so much money, people need help."

"I feel so lost right now, but I feel so loved," Winkler said. "I never thought it would happen to us, it's just so surreal."

"It's amazing," Farrell added. "When things like this happen it really brings a community closer together. It's just the fact that people are actually doing things which makes the difference."

Several businesses like The Loophole are doing what they can to help out.

Some of the proceeds and all donations made from The Loophole's event will go towards the families that have been in contact with them.

Thunderstruck Tree Climbing and Restoration, based out of West Ashley, has also put together a donation for flower pots, shrubs and other landscaping items for those families affected.

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